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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Penne Pasta with Chicken and Red Pesto Sauce

As I mentioned earlier, my kid loves pasta and I try to search new recipes besides cooking pasta with white sauce and tomato & garlic sauce including pasta salad.

I came across the recipe for pesto and decided to try it out. I combined tomatoes with fresh basil leaves to prepare red pesto sauce.

This is an easy pasta recipe with penne pasta, shredded chicken & red pesto sauce and can be served in the main course with a tossed salad. You can also serve pesto on the pasta of your choice, use it as a dip and you can even serve it over fresh boiled vegetables.

Pesto (a paste of basil, garlic, pine nuts and cheese) is prepared in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. Fresh basil leaves are washed, dried, placed in the mortar with garlic and coarse salt, and crushed to a creamy consistency. The pine nuts are added and crushed together with grated cheese and olive oil.

This sauce can be kep in a tight jar / air-tight plastic container for later use.

Click here to get the recipe of Penne Pasta with Chicken and Red Pesto Sauce.....

Friday, January 15, 2010

Moong Dal Halwa, ICC Challenge for Dec' 2009

Moong dal ka halwa / Moong daal ka seera is a traditional Rajasthani (Marwari) / North Indian delicacy, made from split yellow lentils (moong dal). It is relished during the winter months and special occasions (Holi and Diwali) including wedding & other celebrations.
I first had this delicious halwa in the afternoon buffets in Angeethi, a terrace restaurant in the style of an authentic North Indian dhaba in Museum Road, off church Street, Bangalore.
As I never had this halwa before, I was curious to know the recipe. After coming back home, I searched my recipe books and found one. I prepared moong dal halwa for the first time and it was simply great though a little calorie laden. (By the time I finished preparing the sweet dish, my right hand was aching from stirring the halwa).

So when Srivalli decided this recipe for ICC – December challenge, I had the opportunity to prepare this halwa once again. She stated 2 recipes, I chose her second recipe (moong dal with milk), though I first sauted / dry roasted the dal (I used a 200 gms cup measure and other ingredients accordingly) & soaked overnight and also used crushed black cardamom while serving.
Both the recipes are stated below:

Moong Dal Halwa
Soaking Time : Overnight
Preparation Time : 15 minutes
Cooking Time : 30 - 45 mins

Recipe with moong dal and milk

  • Split Moong dal (yellow lentils): 1 cup / 200 gms
  • Ghee: 1/2 cup
  • Sugar: 3/4 cups to 1 cup (as required) / 150-200 gms
  • Milk: 1/2 cup
  • Cashews / raisins (roasted in ghee) for garnishing


  1. Soak moong dal overnight. Next morning, grind to a paste.
  2. Heat a heavy / deep bottomed kadai, take only 1/2 of the ghee and heat it.
  3. Add the dal and stir continuously (ensure that no lumps are formed as the dal cooks really fast, irrespective of the ghee).
  4. Keep the heat at the lowest and keep stirring even after the dal becomes thick.
  5. Add the rest of the ghee intermittently, cook the dal until aromatic and the ghee starts oozing out.
  6. Meanwhile mix the sugar with water/ milk in a pan and bring to a boil. Add this slowly to the cooking dal.
  7. Keep the fire low at all times and break lumps if formed while adding the sugar and water / milk mix.
  8. Cook until the ghee surfaces. Garnish with cashews and raisins.

Recipe with moong dal and khoya


  • Split (Yellow) Moong dal: 1 cup
  • Sugar: 3/4 cup - 1 cup (as required)
  • Clarified Butter / Ghee: 1/2 cup
  • Khoya: 1/2 cup
  • Cashew nuts and raisins for garnishing

You can make any quantity with this as long as you keep this ratio constant : equal amounts of dal and sugar, half the ghee and khoya.


  1. Lightly roast the 1 cup of moong dal, wash, soak overnight and be ground to a fine paste adding very little water.
  2. Take a thick bottom pan, heat 1/2 cup ghee and fry the moong dal paste till it turns brownish and releases the ghee. Add sugar and khoya.
  3. Stir fry until both the sugar and khoya are well absorbed. Turn off the heat, then mix in cashew nuts and raisins.

Also special thank you wish to Lathaji and Simran’s Mom for the recipe inputs.

Notes :
  1. Use a thick bottom pan /nonstick pan.
  2. Don't leave the halwa unattended. The dal can stick to the pan and get burnt, keep stirring continuously to prevent dhal from sticking irrespective of the ghee added. (The halwa will thicken as it cools).
  3. Cook until ghee surfaces on the sides and the halwa attains a very nice shine.
  4. Initially, it may appear that all the ghee is being used up. But as the dal cooks the ghee separates. So the ghee measure is sufficient.
  5. In both recipes depending on how you got the moong dal paste, you may require slightly more ghee to get the texture.

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